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Two on leave in prison contraband probe

February 18, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

Two staff members from a prison south of Hagerstown were placed on administrative leave following an attempt to bring contraband into the facility, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Division of Correction said Tuesday.

Capt. Priscilla Doggett said two employees from the Roxbury Correctional Institution, whom she would not identify, were under investigation in an attempt to bring tobacco products into the prison and will remain on leave until the probe is completed.

Doggett said the incident that sparked the investigation occurred on Feb. 5, but would not confirm where the contraband was brought in or if the products were for prisoners or staff members.

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Doggett said she did not know if this has been a problem at the prison in the past but has heard of it happening elsewhere in the state.

"There have been other incidents in the division where (an employee) would attempt to bring in contraband," Doggett said. "Whenever that happens there is an investigation, and the person is put on leave."

Doggett said she could not release information regarding the two employees until completion of an investigation by the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services Investigative Unit.

Tobacco has been banned at RCI since July 2001, Doggett said. All tobacco items brought into the facility are considered contraband.

"When we went to the smoking ban, it was our intention to have smoke-free facilities, she said. "There should be no smoking."

Ray Lushbaugh, a representative for Teamster's Local 103 Public Employee's Division, declined to comment, citing the employees' "due process" rights.

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